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Wish we’d thought of that: Innovative solutions to save the planet

The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you’ve got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re going to be regularly showcasing the best innovations we come across. We focus next on innovations that are producing positive change for both business and the environment.

Stormwater 360 and LittaTrap

Our waste is seeping into our waterways, and it’s killing both us and the creatures that live in the water.

This is not exactly a new problem, nor are efforts to do something about it, but Auckland-based Stormwater360 is tackling the issue with a new product that, it believes, could be a game-changer in saving us from ourselves.

The LittaTrap is a catchpit filter designed to be easily inserted underneath new and existing storm water drains. A wire mesh attached to brackets, it collects plastic, litter and other large pieces of rubbish, while letting water flow through. When a LittaTrap is full, it can easily be lifted out of a drain and emptied.

Used in several dozen locations throughout the Land of the Long White Cloud, the innovation also nabbed the Innovation in Sustainability & Cleantech Award at last year’s Innovation Awards.


Winners of the Sustainability & Cleantech Award at the 2015 Innovation Awards, the company’s innovative hydrothermal deconstruction technology converts sewage or wastewater into energy and useful products. Widely used in Rotorua, where the company is based, Terax can reduce biowaste sludge volumes by more than 95 percent without the addition of external heat. The technology provides a positive economic return on investment based on the savings from transport and disposal costs alone. Plus, it helps fix the environment.


Humans produce more than 300 million tonnes of plastic rubbish each year – the equivalent of one refuse truck’s worth every minute.

A lot of folks are trying to do something about fixing the problem, but few are tackling it in as innovative way as Indian startup Protoprint. The way the company’s technology works is deceptively simple: a production facility at a local rubbish dump allows plastic bottles to be converted into 3D printing filament, which can then be sold to 3D printing companies.

Aside from helping the environment, Protoprint’s business model can also help create jobs, as there are an estimated 15 million people around the world who depend on picking waste as their primary source of income.


Another relatively simple innovation with big potential, the BioTrans system can be installed at restaurants, cafes and other places where food is served. Basically, it collects and grinds leftovers into a single biomass. The food waste is then pumped through an odour-free system to a tank where it is stored. It can then be taken to large facilities where it can be used for biogas and renewable energy.

Outerwall Eco ATM

The Outerwall Eco ATM is a network of automated recycling kiosks for tech products – namely, phones. At the kiosks, people can recycle old phones, tablets and other electronics. For doing so, they’ll get cash back. In terms of how it makes money, Outerwall then sells the devices to a network of buyers.

 Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories for the 2017 Innovation  Awards, and tell your story by clicking here

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